University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Kurian v. County of Lancaster JC-PA-0028
Docket / Court 2:07-cv-03482-PD ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Case Summary
On August 22, 2007, an inmate filed suit against the County of Lancaster and the Lancaster County Prison Board in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He alleged that his constitutional rights were violated when he was strip searched in front of other inmates ... read more >
On August 22, 2007, an inmate filed suit against the County of Lancaster and the Lancaster County Prison Board in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He alleged that his constitutional rights were violated when he was strip searched in front of other inmates upon arrival at the Lancaster County Prison after being arrested for a parole violation. He claimed that the blanket policy of strip searching all newly-arrived detainees regardless of the offense and without judgment as to whether or not such a search was reasonable violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. His cause of action was 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and he was represented by private counsel. He sought class action certification, declaratory judgment, a preliminary and permanent injunction, and punitive damages.

The parties proceeded into discovery and also pursued a settlement. On June 13, 2008 the court (Judge Paul S. Diamond) denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification without prejudice. The parties continued negotiations and submitted a settlement agreement with the court on July 29, 2009. The settlement specified a class of those stripped searched upon admittance to Lancaster County Prison for minor offences not involving drugs, weapons, or violence between August 22, 2005 and July 28, 2009. It affirmed the new policy of the defendants not to strip search such detainees, specified that the defendant would train all of its employees to comply with the new policy, and allowed class counsel to monitor compliance. It also created a fund of $2,507,200.00 to be used to compensate class members. Provisional class certification and preliminary approval of the settlement was granted by the court (Judge Diamond) on September 1, 2009. The case came to a close on April 9, 2010 when the court (Judge Diamond) certified the class and granted final approval to the settlement.

Michael Perry - 04/15/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
General
Search policies
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Lancaster County
Lancaster County Prison Board
Plaintiff Description Class of individuals who were strip-searched upon entering the Lancaster County Prison.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:07-cv-03482-PD (E.D. Pa.) 04/09/2010
JC-PA-0028-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint-Class Action 08/22/2007
JC-PA-0028-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 07/29/2009
JC-PA-0028-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Provisionally certifying the class and granting preliminary approval to the settlement) 09/01/2009 (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0028-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Certifying the class and granting final approval to the settlement) 04/09/2010 (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0028-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Diamond, Paul Steven (E.D. Pa.)
JC-PA-0028-0003 | JC-PA-0028-0004 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Donaldson, Kimberly M. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0001 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Durant, Marc (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0001
Feinberg, Jonathan H. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0002 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Hayes, Christopher G. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0001 | JC-PA-0028-0002 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Johns, Benjamin F. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0001 | JC-PA-0028-0002 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Levin, Daniel C. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0001 | JC-PA-0028-0002 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Rudovsky, David (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0002 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Sauder, Joseph G. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0001 | JC-PA-0028-0002 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Baird, Macavan A. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-9000
Kepner, Timothy James (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-9000
Macmain, David J. (Pennsylvania)
JC-PA-0028-0002 | JC-PA-0028-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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